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Prime Minister's Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 6:30 pm, 25th September 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker. With your permission, I shall make a statement on yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict and the way forward for this paralysed Parliament.

Three years ago, more people voted to leave the European Union than had ever voted for any party or proposition in our history. Politicians of all parties promised the public that they would honour the result. Sadly, many have since done all they can to abandon those promises and to overturn that democratic vote. After three years of dither and delay that have left this country at risk of being locked forever in the orbit of the EU, this Government that I lead have been trying truly to get us out. Most people, including most supporters of the Labour party, regardless of how they voted three years ago, think the referendum must be respected. They want Brexit done, I want Brexit done, and people want us out on 31 October, with a new deal if possible, but without one if necessary.

Some 64 days ago, I was told that Brussels would never reopen the withdrawal agreement; we are now discussing a reopened withdrawal agreement in the negotiations. I was told that Brussels would never consider alternatives to the backstop—the trap that keeps the UK effectively in the EU but with no say; we are now discussing those alternatives in the negotiations. I was told that Brussels would never consider arrangements that were not permanent; we are now discussing in the negotiations an arrangement that works on the principle of consent and is not permanent. I was told that there was no chance of a new deal, but we are discussing a new deal, in spite of the best efforts of the Labour party and this Parliament to wreck our negotiations by their attempts to take no deal off the table.

The truth is that a majority of Opposition Members are opposed not to the so-called no deal; this Parliament does not want Brexit to happen at all. Many of those who voted for the surrender Act a few weeks ago said then that their intention was to stop a no-deal Brexit. They have said every day since that Parliament must vote against any deal at all. The people of this country can see very clearly what is going on. People at home know—[Interruption.]